Lappartient watching Moscon affair 'very closely'

Speaking to The Times this week, UCI president David Lappartient said he was watching the case in which FDJ's Sebastian Reichenbach accused Team Sky's Gianni Moscon of purposely causing him to crash "very closely".

Reichenbach's season ended with a pelvis fracture and broken elbow, the result of the crash at Tre Valli Varesine on October 3. FDJ blamed the wreck on "the dangerous behaviour of one of his opponents, Gianni Moscon".

Although Reichenbach subsequently filed a complaint with the Italian police and the UCI saying that Moscon deliberately ran into him on a descent, the UCI has never announced if it is investigating the complaint.

Lappartient's comments are the first from the UCI on the case, and he said such behaviour "goes completely against what the UCI stands for."

The conflict between FDJ and Moscon goes back to April when a Twitter post by Reichenbach led to Moscon being outed for hurling racial epithets at FDJ's Kevin Reza during the Tour de Romandie.

The UCI investigated the incident, but Moscon's punishment was handled internally by Team Sky, with Moscon given a six-week suspension from racing and "diversity awareness" training. The UCI Disciplinary Commission declined to add to the suspension, and his sanction was allowed to run concurrently with the internal ban.

Reichenbach contends that the crash in Tre Valli Varesine was a case of "settling scores", but Moscon denied any involvement in the crash, saying that Reichenbach's hand slipped from his handlebars. He also said he intends to protect his reputation from such accusations.

In an unrelated incident, Moscon was disqualified from the UCI Road World Championships elite men's road race for taking a tow from the Italian national team car late in the race.

"We need to be strong on this," Lappartient said. "I am watching the Moscon affair very carefully. If, after racially abusing one rider, he later pushed one of his teammates off his bike, then he has nothing to do with cycling if he behaves like this," Lappartient said.

The UCI has not publicly announced an investigation into the incident, but such behaviour, if upheld, could violate article 6.4 of the UCI Code of Ethics on the "Protection of physical and mental integrity" as well as rule 1.2.079 stipulating that licence holders "shall refrain from any acts of violence, threats or insults or any other improper behaviour or from putting other persons in danger". 

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